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While I was in NY in January … I thought the last time I was in Chinatown, there was a line out the door of this tiny restaurant – Xi’an Famous Foods – Western Chinese Cuisine.


A branch of this restaurant in St. Mark’s Place has received great reviews from Zagat. It received the following scores:  FOOD – 24 – DECOR – 6 – SERVICE 13 – COST $12. I wondered if this is the highest ratio of FOOD:COST in Zagat NYC – while it represents great value for money. Being in the Chinatown branch (67 Bayard St) – I can only imagine that the DECOR score might even be lower than 6. When I visited this time, it was in the middle of the afternoon and all was calm.


Their story on their website which is very surprisingly well designed given the size of the company:

Xi’an Famous Foods began as a 200 square foot basement stall in the Golden Shopping Mall in Flushing, N.Y. The original location, established in late 2005, was the first restaurant to bring the little-known cuisine of Xi’an to the United States, with signature hand-ripped noodles, secret spice mixes, and Xi’an “burgers” with housemade flatbread.


Xi’an is located at the start of the silk road so its foods are a combination of Chinese and Middle Eastern flavors. The spices used included cumin, chili, Sichuan peppercorns and other secret ingredients.


I ordered the hand-ripped wide noodles with spicy lamb – $7.50. It tasted really very good – although I had not been to Xi’an – the flavor was exactly what I was expecting.


A notice was posted next to the menu explaining that a takeout will not taste as good because all the soup would have been absorbed by the congealing noodles as it cool down in as little as 15 minutes resulting in a much less spicy (dull) flavor.


They received a huge publicity boost from Anthony Boudrain who tried and praised the spicy minced lamb burger on his show.


I wish I had more time to try the other dishes – particularly the minced lamb burger. Overall highly recommended.


On the web site, the restaurant offers T-shirt and gift cards and the web site looked very professional. Given the distinct taste and modern corporate image, I suspect that this restaurant chain is well on its way to be a famous brand and eventually sprouting  franchises, not just in the China or US but possibly all over Asia (if it is not already happening).



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